Today, we have the ability to turn any human cell into a stem cell and grow tissues in a lab. We’re getting closer to bio-printing full organs, as well using DNA as a viable information storage method. You can get your entire genome sequenced for $1000, and that price is only going down. Genetic editing with tools such as CRISPR/Cas9 is a revolution in and of itself. And scientists are creating global collaborations on incredible new projects like Genome Project – Write.
While many of these breakthroughs have been confined to academic labs or large companies, we’ve also seen the rise of the citizen scientist. Kids and adults want to get their hands on wetware and make things wherever they can, whether in their kitchen or a community biolab. Biohacker labs have sprung up all over the world. iGEM, the international bioengineering competition, is only growing, and there are countless meetups and clubs where you can learn “do-it-yourself biology.”
These early adopters are recognizing something really important: biology is a powerful technology, and if we can harness it, we can use it to create and build things we need in a completely novel and much smarter way. But as important and powerful as these new tools and breakthroughs are, they are still pretty inaccessible to those without a background in biological science.
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